Scotland’s “love affair” with home-grown, small-scale, clean energy continues to soar, and new figures show just how widespread the love reaches.
New figures published earlier in August by industry body Scottish Renewables and Scotland’s Rural College highlight just how many small-scale energy generators there are in the country: There are around 42,000 solar schemes — which equates to around 660,000 250W solar panels — 2,557 small wind projects, 204 hydro-electric schemes, and three anaerobic digesters generating electricity for Scottish homes, businesses, and community buildings.
The figures are well timed, too, as they come on top of Scotland’s disagreement with the Mother Country — England — and its government over the role of subsidies for renewable energy development. The Scottish small-scale renewable energy industry is facing a difficult task ahead, as the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is set to report on the possibility of cuts to renewable energy subsidies in mid-September, as well as a review of the United Kingdom’s Feed-in Tariff program.
Earlier in the month, Scotland’s government teamed up with another of the United Kingdom’s entities, Wales, to send a joint-letter to the UK Government imploring them to rethink their cuts to renewable energy support.
And it’s not surprising why, when you look at some of the specific figures provided by Scottish Renewables and Rural College:
- The 2014 Commonwealth Games – which organisers said were “the greenest ever” – have made the G40 postcode in Glasgow’s East End the country’s top mainland spot for small-scale renewables;
- Inverurie is Scotland’s solar capital. The town’s AB51 postcode boasts about 10,000 250W solar panels – more than any other region in Scotland;
- Glasgow has 35% more small-scale renewable energy schemes than Edinburgh;
- Scotland has 23% more small-scale renewables per capita than England and Wales, and has almost eight times as much small-scale wind;
- Scotland’s small-scale hydro hotspot is the Tay valley, followed by an area to the north ofLoch Ness, then the western banks of Loch Lomond, around the picturesque villages of Luss and Arrochar;
- The Isle of Jura – home to the one of the largest privately-owned hydro stations in the UK – has the highest amount of small-scale renewable energy capacity per capita of any postcode region.
“The figures released today demonstrate the extent of our love affair with small-scale renewables, but the current level of change and uncertainty is already punishing the sector,” said Stephanie Clark, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables. “Without the FiT scheme thousands of homes and businesses would not have access to the affordable, clean electricity which has allowed them to stabilise their energy bills while reducing the amount of carbon emitted because of their energy use.
“Small-scale renewables can continue to thrive in the UK, but the sector urgently needs confirmation that it has the backing of the Government.”
Image by Steve Hodgson (CC BY-SA 2.0)